NAIROBI, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is lining up international friendly matches against four African rivals to boost its women's football team for the Olympic qualifiers against Malawi.
Barry Otieno, Head of Communications and Marketing at Football Kenya Federation, said here Thurday that the Kenyan team will play at least one match against Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Ethiopia to gauge their fitness and competitiveness before traveling to Blantyre for their clash against hosts Malawi.
"We have initiated negotiations with Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and we will decide which team to play against. It's important for the team before they head down to Malawi," said Otieno.
Kenya missed out on the Women's Africa Cup of Nations 2018 when they lost to Equatorial Guinea.
Kenya must beat Malawi on home and away basis to secure passage to the second round where the winner will meet Gabon or Ghana in the third round.
The first leg of the qualifier against Malawi will be on August 28 with the second leg set to be played on September 1. Kenya got a bye in the first round based on their ranking while Malawi qualified after thrashing Mozambique 14-1.
The qualifying tournament is in its fifth edition. Only the winner will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics directly, and the losing finalist will have a play-off chance against a team from the South American Football Confederation.
At the same time, Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced move to expand the Women's Africa Cup of Nations from 8 teams to 12 teams following an executive committee meeting in Cairo.